Me-time

I don’t know about you, but I cannot believe that we are already in the middle of October! Where has this year gone? It is as if life is getting busier as we are heading slowly (or faster) to the end of another year….

Already Christmas decorations are popping up all over! Many people say now is a good time to start thinking and buying all those presents, before prices go up and before stores get flooded with customers.

Not a bad idea, what do you think? As we move closer to the end of the year, not only are students buckling down, but adults can also feel stressed. It is quite natural to go through a dip, as it were, when your bio-rhythms are off. Thus it is important to take time-out, to relax and unwind, and not to neglect yourself.

The well-known doctor Phil McGraw a.k.a. Dr. Phil, once said “if you don’t take care of yourself first, then who will?” Something to always keep in mind; especially if you are head of a company, have a family to look after, or are single but living a busy life.

You might be thinking, by now, this is all good and easier said than done. No, it is not that difficult and here are a few tips to help you to have more me-time, feel less tired and have more energy for everything and everyone around you.

  1. Keep a journal – even if you write short sentences / words down; a journal is like that best friend that you can spill your heart to without being judged.
  2. Schedule “me time” every week – whether it’s going for a walk, to the gym, reading a book or just snuggling up on the couch with a cuppa and listening to your favourite music; take time off to just be with yourself.
  3. Eat healthy, regular meals and drink enough fluids (especially water). 
  4. If you find that you don’t have time to sit down for a meal, make sure that whatever you eat “on the go,” is healthy: whether it is a smoothie, a health bar, fruit and nuts. Eating processed and junk food, and drinking soft drinks, will only deplete your body from vitamins and minerals and will not provide you with the energy you need. You might feel you have more energy for a short while, but then your blood sugar drops lower than normal, and you are more tired and stressed than before.
  5. Diarize time to socialize with friends and family – a good supporting system can go a long way and, let’s face it, humans like to socialize!
  6. Remember that you are unique – value yourself the same way you would value friends, family, clients, colleagues.
  7. Even if you were “superwoman” or “superman” you cannot do everything for everybody!  Do your best in everything you do and that will be enough.
  8. Make time for meditation (quiet time) – switch off the phone, the laptop, take the phone off the hook, close the door and just breathe.  Slowly in, slowly out.  Focus your attention only on your breathing and block out any thoughts / sounds.  Doing this just 10 minutes a day will make a world’s difference.
  9. Get enough sleep! To keep up with today’s pace you need to make sure that your energy levels are up, your immune system is strong and that you give the body all the help it needs to stay healthy and fit.
  10. Deadline looming?  Instead of buckling down and working until you want to fall asleep, take a break from your desk, get up and get some fresh air.  Not only will it clear your mind, but it’ll give you energy to finish the task(s) at hand.
  11. Treat yourself once in a while.  Have a facial or massage, go on a short break or to your favourite restaurant with your favourite person(s). It will help you not only to relax, but to recharge your batteries too! Remember; you are worth it and deserve deserve it!
  12. Laugh more! In today’s world things are not only hectic, but also quite morbid – especially if you think of the news that we are bombarded with. Instead of listening to only the bad news, switch channels, watch a comedy, go out with friends, and laugh. Laughter is the best medicine…not only true but the cheapest way to lift your spirits, put you in a better mood and help you to get a more positive outlook on life in general.
  13. Struggling to “switch off?” Listen to relaxing music or listen to nature. Depending where you live, birdsong can be just as relaxing as instrumental or classical music.
  14. Make sure you take your multi-vitamin, vitamin C and extra vitamin B6 & B12, especially if you are stressed. When your immune system is run-down, then your chances of catching a cold / flu doubles.
  15. Lastly, if you feel great on the inside, it’ll show on the outside.  If you want to be successful, you have to dress the part (as the saying goes).  Thus, if you want to be your best at work, at home, at social events, then start by taking care of you…and the rest will follow!

Taking care of you – starts with you. Even when your financial situation is not in a good state, you can still laugh, you can still treat yourself to something you can afford, you can still be in nature and you can still get together with family and friends! We all know the saying: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade! An attitude of gratitude (one of Dr. John Demartini’s favourite quotes, and books), helps you to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Deep breathes in, deep breathes out. Just breathing in for 8 – 10 counts and exhaling for 8 – 10 counts, automatically slows down your heartrate (especially when stressed) and, as more oxygen enters the body, the mind starts to unwind, the muscles start to relax, and you can carry on!

Chin up; all things shall pass!! Remember, it has to rain in order for a rainbow to appear; never give up on yourself; you are the only you there is…

Coping with stress

It is that time of the year again when pupils, especially matrics, have to crunch down and study!  It is, sadly, also a time when many pupils (and students), cannot find ways to cope with their stress and commit suicide.

So, what can we, as parents, teachers, family and friends do to help each other cope with stress?

First, we have to distinguish between “good” and “bad” stress.  “Good” stress is when you are nervous about something, but you can handle the situation without going into a complete state of panic and a loss of words.  “Bad” stress is when you have so much stress and worries that you do not know how to cope with it.  It can also be linked to sadness and mourning (grieving).  This stress often builds up through time until one day it all just comes crashing down.

Adults (parents and teachers alike) play a big role in stress management, as children learn by example.  The way the adult(s) cope with stress will teach the child(ren) how to deal with their stress.  It is good to talk about what is bothering you, but it is not helping anyone if you either bottle your feelings up, going into a fit of rage / panic, or grabbing for an external coping mechanism (whether it be a drink, a cigarette or food).  Many people suffer from emotional eating disorders.  Others stop eating when they are stressed.  These are all signs to look out for – especially in young children who cannot always put their feelings into words.

How can one help each other then?

First, it is vital to have a support group, a best friend / confidante, that you can talk to without being judged;

For children it is important to know that mom and/or dad will always listen, without judgement or criticism. 

Often children get teased by other children and/or older siblings – watch for any signs in your child’s behaviour that changes all of a sudden, for example, the child doesn’t share their feelings / thoughts anymore.

Long-term stress can cause havoc on the system (both physically, emotionally and mentally).  Chronic inflammation can set in, causing anything from acne, allergies, premature ageing and strokes, to cancer, obesity, weight gain and intestinal issues.  It is thus vital to make sure that you get extra nutrients in in times of stress so that it can help the body to cope. These include:

Sweet potatoes:  low in starch but rich in antioxidants, vitamin E and beta carotene. 

Fatty / Oily fish:  Salmon, mackerel, tuna, yellowtail, sole and sardines are all high in Omega-3 fatty acids.  Pilchards are another good source of fatty acids.  Eating oily fish at least twice per week was found to reduce the risk of heart disease-development, which is often related to stress.  If you / someone in the family doesn’t like oily fish, make sure to buy a good omega-3 supplement. 

Nuts and seeds (e.g. sesame and sunflower seeds):  full of healthy fats, protein, essential vitamins, minerals, fibres and antioxidants.  Do remember to eat nuts in moderation, as they are high in kilojoules.

Berries:  high in antioxidants and low in fat and kilojoules.  Blueberries, for example, can help to reduce oxidative stress and protect the body against ulcerative colitis and intestinal-inflammation.  Red raspberry extract, according to studies done, helps to prevent arthritis-development in animals.  Research has also shown that women who eat more strawberries, have lower levels of C-reactive protein CRP in the blood (it is a substance produced by the liver that increases when there is stress in the body).  Fresh or frozen, add berries to your shopping list and add them to your muesli, yoghurt, dessert or smoothies.

Whole grains:  oats, quinoa, brown rice, rye, barley and wheat, are all whole grains.  Whole grains contain more fibre and keeps your blood sugar levels even (unlike refined starches that can play havoc on your blood sugar levels and make you drowsy when you need to be alert for studying).

Cold-pressed Olive oil:  good source of Omega 3’s, it contains natural anti-inflammatory properties and is good “food” for both your brain and your heart.  Another good source is flaxseed oil. 

If anybody is allergic to shellfish, make sure that the Omega-3 supplement is not using shellfish.  At DisChem you can buy Omega 3:6:9-supplement in liquid form made from seeds. 

You can also add eggs, chicken and lots of raw fruits and vegetables to your meals.  Eliminate, as far as possible, refined sugars and carbohydrates, caffeine, nicotine and artificial colouring (especially found in processed meals).

Vitamins and minerals: they are vital during this time.  Taking extra supplements will help the brain to function more optimally and will help keep your immune system-levels high.  Vitamin C is important to maintain a strong immune system.  Vitamin B plays a key role here, because when you stress the body uses vitamins B6 & B12 first. Zinc and vitamin D are also very important for cognitive function and stability of the brain and nervous system.  A good supplement of calcium and magnesium (with added zinc and vitamin D), vitamin C and a multi-vitamin B supplement are advised.  An excellent, natural remedy to help you and/or your child or partner cope with stress, is Rescue Remedy. In South Africa you get the drops and the tablets. It calms you down without making you drowsy, weepy or over-emotional.

Exercise:  just as eating a healthy, balanced meal is important, so too is exercise.  Whether you go for a walk or a run, skip rope or ride a bicycle, get out into the fresh air (or the gym if you prefer) and get away from the books and the stress.  Exercise in any form will help the body to excrete serotonin – the “happy” hormone, that helps the body to not only cope with stress, but also get rid of it.  A clear head and a state of calmness, will give you more clarity about a situation and will help you to study better. 

Sleep:  it is very important that you get a good night’s rest on a regular basis.  Not only is it a time when the body regenerates itself, but it is also a time when the brain can relax and rewire.  Do make sure that your bedroom is dark and quiet.  If you struggle to meditate and/or sleep; remember:  always switch your cell phone, laptop and/or television off at least 30 minutes before you go to bed.  It you look at either of the screens just before you put your light out the brain “stays awake” as it were and you will struggle to fall asleep.  Still struggling and counting sheep?  Have some warm milk with cinnamon in; or shower with / bath in lavender.  You can also place some lavender under your pillow.  Both will help to calm you down and stop you from counting sheep the whole night!

Taking enough breaks:  the minute you start to feel tired or your brain feels fuzzy, get up, go for a walk and get some fresh air.  Even taking catnaps in-between your studying can do wonders for the body, the brain and your eyes!  Just looking out the window (without concentrating hard), can help to relax your eyes and brain.

Meditate:  it is vital that you take breaks and relax, breathe deeply and just forget for a moment about the stress / upcoming exam.  You can focus on your breathing, listen to calm music, the birds outside, take a shower or bath, and just become still.

Laugh:  laughter is the best medicine – something that has been said time and time again.  Watch a comedy, read a funny book, make a note to laugh when you are out with your friends, smile and tell funny jokes!   Not only will you look and feel younger, but laughing produces serotonin (the “happy hormone”), which reduces anxiety and stress, and also helps us to cope better during stressful periods.

Study-area:  make sure that your study-nook is clean and tidy.  Get rid of clutter and things that is not important when you are busy studying.  Make sure the room is well ventilated and there is enough natural light coming in. 

Water:  make sure that you drink enough water during this time.  Staying hydrated not only keeps your energy levels up, but also keeps your brain-cells active.

Some tips from Doctor Gillian Mooney (dean of academic development and support at The Independent Institute of Education) to gear young adults alike for the future:

  1. Be well organized – get into the habit of doing daily administrative and organizational tasks;
  2. Boost your computer skills – taking notes faster will help to improve productivity;
  3. Be a multitasker – instead of playing computer games or listening to music when you take a break, download an app / audiobook / game about the subject that you are studying;
  4. Changing times – teach children from a young age that learning and studying is a life-long process.  “Life is a journey, not a destination.” 
  5. The saying goes “one is never too old to learn.”  This is important to remember, because to be able to learn new skills in the workplace, for example, and to be able to multitask, are two of the important factors that employees look for today.

All in all, studying can be fun, it can be something that you enjoy, as long as you find a method that works for you and you use your time wisely.  Many schoolchildren and students who obtain many distinctions all say one thing:  the more you listen in class (and/or take notes), then less you have to study at home!  Going over the work done in the class the same day will help you to remember it better. 

Good luck to all the children, students and their family, for the upcoming exam-period!  Do your best and the rest will follow!

Tidying your space

Every year we spring-clean our home and go through all our clothes, kitchenware and bathroom goodies, to not only clean the house from top to bottom, but also to get rid of things that are no longer used, has rarely ever been used, or that has passed its date.

However, there are still things in my cupboards that has not been used recently (or even in the last few years I must admit), but it is still there.  As my brother sometimes says – you don’t clean the cupboards, you just reshuffle everything in it!

Decluttering your home and office space once a year is something that shouldn’t bring you down, although some people find it hard to throw away / give away things and instead hoard.

According to psychological research clutter affects the brain’s ability to concentrate and process information, and it has a powerful effect on your mood and self-esteem.  Ever felt overwhelmed?  It is the same with hoarding…. you know you have to start somewhere but you don’t know where, so in the end you leave it.  Psychologists also believe that hoarding is linked to deep seated emotional issues; which can be anything from scared of letting go, to a low self-image.

Cory Cook, a time-management expert, believes that people must start to change their attitude and believes towards things:  we hold the power over things, not things over us!

Here are six ways that she gives to declutter and tidy your space:

  1. Limit the load:  instead of keeping each and every picture that your child made, save one or two and bin the others.  Your subconscious brain only stores the most important pictures / things; the person should be the important one, not the item.
  2. Clear your bedroom:  put away the washing and the cell phones.  Linda Blair, clinical psychologist, states that “if the clutter reminds you that you have a job to do, then it’s the equivalent of having electronic devices in your room pinging away, demanding your attention.”  Add to that that you will deprive yourself of a good night’s rest if you look at the screen (of a cell phone and/or television) just before you put off the light (as it has been proven that the flickering of the screen, although not visible with your eyes, is registered by your brain, thus it keeps your brain active instead of settling down to sleep)!  Your bedroom, after all, should be like your bathroom – a sanctuary where you can relax and sleep; not a place where you work.  It is fashion to have a television in your bedroom, but many experts believe that romance will fly out the door when you bring a television into the room!  Instead, enjoy your own and/or each other’s company or read a book before you put the lights off.
  3. Do good: donate your stuff that has been sitting in your cupboards forever without being used to either a charity, or give something to someone that will use it.  According to Linda decluttering and giving things away releases a feel-good hormone called oxytocin.  Knowing unused things are used and appreciated by someone else can be a very satisfying feeling.
  4. Clear the kitchen:  having too many things in the kitchen can easily deter someone from cooking a healthy meal and, instead opt for a quick, unhealthy fast food meal.  Clear the countertops in the kitchen; have a designated area where you put your keys, for example, and pack away things that are not supposed to be in the kitchen.  In an article I read recently, the lady said that she steered clear of the kitchen most of the time because it wasn’t functional.  In her case, they saved money and redid the kitchen.  Now she loves cooking for her family and trying out new recipes.  Whether your kitchen needs a lick of paint or just some decluttering; a small / big change can make all the difference!
  5. Getting energised:  according to Feng Shui your home’s entrance can immediately influence your energy levels when you walk through the front door.  If this is where the schoolbags go, or the raincoats (for example), keep it neat (either in a cupboard, in a row or on a hook).  If you have a table at your entrance, keep it clean and the décor minimalistic.  A tidy home makes you feel content and safe; knowing that unscheduled visits are welcome!
  6. Feel more focused:  piles of paperwork can be a problem.  Many people say it is good to keep important account receipts for 5 years, then shred it.  When it comes to magazines and newspapers, Cory suggests finish reading them before you buy a new one.  If there is information in that you want to keep, make a folder and tear out only the page(s) you want to read again. Clearing out will give you an instant lift and “clear your head.”

Marie Kondo, author of Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying, suggests that you must ask yourself if something sparks joy.  Hold an item with both hands, have a good look at it and pay attention to how your body reacts to it.  If it doesn’t bring you joy, your body will feel heavier. 

Another tip is to keep similar items together (glassware in one cupboard, plates in another).  Marie also suggests that you should have a filing system for your home-paperwork (as you would in the office).  Place the important ones like bills in a pending box / folder and the rest in another box / folder.  First sort out the ones in the pending box then start with the rest. 

If you don’t know where to start, start in one room and finish that one completely.  Place things in different piles: staying, not sure and giving away (throwing out).  Once everything has been sorted out and packed away, move on to the next room.  Families can do this together; thereby teaching children to be organized, neat and (as stated above), teaching them that you have power over things, not things over you!

There is no time like the present to start spring-cleaning…so better to start and get it done!  Good luck everyone!

Lunchbox-ideas for the whole family

The internationally acclaimed chef, writer and restauranteur, Jamie Oliver, set out on a mission a few years back to transform the food served at schools all over the UK.  In 2005, the School Food Trust was born, with its motto, “Eat better. Do better.”  It paid off!

In South Africa, as in the UK and the USA, obesity amongst young children is getting worse.  The increase of children and young adults developing Type 2 diabetes, is both alarming and shocking.  Parents and teachers alike, must set an example and teach the children that healthy food is not only better, but it has a huge impact on our mood, behaviour, health, growth, and ability to concentrate.  The last thing a growing child needs is to be eating junk food and processed meals almost every day; not to mention adding soft drinks to it!  Did you know that, if a child starts to drink soda at an early age while they are still growing, it not only affects their weight, mood or behaviour, but it also affects their teeth (especially if they are under the age of 12). 

Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN and best-selling author of Joy Bauer’s Food Cures: Treat Common Health Concerns, Look Younger and Live Longer, agrees with Jamie.  “Without a doubt, balanced nutrition is key for kids to maintain concentration academically. Every school lunch should offer both complex carbohydrates and lean proteins – a turkey-breast sandwich on whole wheat bread is a simple and perfect example of this. It will boost your brain– and staying power, level your moods and keep your blood sugars on an even keel. In other words, a plain bagel or slices of white bread, with nothing else (but butter and jam, for example), can produce volatile spikes in blood sugars and can set up kids for a crash.”

A healthy sandwich with low-fat mayo is just a start, says Bauer. “Fibre in produce is also extremely important because it slows the absorption of carbohydrates into the system, which also keeps blood sugars level. There should be at least one fruit or vegetable in every school lunch or lunchbox, and preferably both.”

Here are some ideas for packing lunchboxes for the whole family:

Monday:  Canned salmon or tuna, mixed with low-fat mayo, with whole-grain bread or crackers; 

Tuesday:  Cold whole-grain / durum wheat semolina pasta salad with roasted or grilled veggies and/or cold chicken / turkey;

Wednesday:  Sandwich with cheese, lettuce, cucumber and tomato.  Add some nuts on the side, for added protein and fibre;

Thursday:  Grilled or roasted chicken breast tenders, sliced red peppers, and low-fat cheese on whole-grain pita (try spinach pita as a kid-friendly alternative);

Friday:  Cold boiled eggs (if someone doesn’t like eggs, replace them with cheese or cold meat, e.g. mini sosaties or mini frikadelles), salad and crackers.

Add some fruit / berries and yoghurt daily to the above ideas.  Also remember to make sure there is a bottle of water to drink as well. 

Unless someone is allergic or intolerant to one of the above-mentioned foods, the key is balance.  Make sure there is carbs, protein, fruit and/or vegetables, in the lunch.  During our summer months it can get very hot and/or humid. 

I would suggest staying clear of chicken and fish when it is so hot and rather opt for other cold meats like cervelat, salami or smoked beef, or plain cheese (gouda or cheddar instead of spreads).  Dried fruit like raisins, are high in iron, and is also a nice snack (with or without nuts).  Just be careful about nuts when it is very hot; and if you are allergic or intolerant, stay clear of peanuts an

Ready, set go! Spring is in the air – are you gearing up?

It is that time of year when the Southern Hemisphere is gearing up for warmer days and more sunshine.  Spring has begun and everyone and everything in nature, has a “spring” in their step (or chirp)!  Many of us have started to spring-clean our homes, closets, cars and offices…are we spring-cleaning our health- and exercise routine?

Here are a few tips to get us “in the mood again;” off the couch and back into routine!

As the days get warmer and the sleeves get shorter, more skin is being exposed.  Time to exfoliate!  There are a number of products in the shops or you can make your own scrub (for example: 1/2 cup ground coffee beans, 1/2 cup fine ground Himalayan Salt, 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted), 2 drops peppermint essential oil.  This scrub will boost circulation and detoxify your body).  Rub in small, circular moves taking care of the sensitive skin and working a bit longer on areas like your elbows, knees and ankles.  It is always best to start on your right side, moving up towards your head and then down the left side.  Why?  Because your lymphatic system flows in that direction towards and passed the heart!  (more on this in a later article).

Keep your skin moisturized.  During winter we just wanted to get out of the hot shower or bath and into our warm beds.  Now when you are finished with your shower or bath, put a good moisturizer on your whole body. Ladies, just be careful if you have shaved your legs.  Often you can get a rash if you put body lotion on straight-away.

Want to put on a pair of shorts or a new dress, but are worried about your very white legs after the winter?  Why not opt for tinting or a fake tan?  Some body lotions have a tinted moisturizer in, otherwise stop at your local spa or DisChem and get a fake spray-tan!  Sunbeds are also popular, but be careful not to overdo it.  It has been proven by many that it can cause skin cancer.

Tired of your look but don’t want to break the bank to buy a new wardrobe – yet?  Go for a haircut – whether you change your style, colour or just opt for trimming the dead-ends, your hair needs a bit of tlc after the cold.  If your hair is dry buy a shampoo and conditioner with added ingredients that feed the hair and scalp (ask your hairdresser to recommend a good brand).  A hair mask is another good product to use.  It nourishes your hair the same way as a facial mask.  Another good change is to air dry your hair instead of using the hairdryer all the time.  Sitting in the sun is also a great way to add a natural tint to your hair.

Getting back into an exercise-routine can be daunting for some.  So, what to do?  Start by using the stairs at work and at the mall instead of the escalator.  Go for an early morning or afternoon walk or jog.  Join a Pilates, Yoga, Splash- or other group exercise-class at gym.  Many people are more motivated when exercising in a group instead of on their own (unless you book a personal training session!).  Not keen on going to or joining a gym?  Then look out for a private studio in your area; they teach anything from Pilates, Yoga, Dancing and other conditioning classes.  There are also numerous walking and/or running-clubs that one can join over the weekend to “get going again.”  Regardless what you do, start with 30 minutes a day and once you’ve gotten into your routine again, you can aim for an hour 3 – 5 times per week.

Start to look at your diet – as the days get warmer it is a good time to add more salads, fruits and raw food to the menu.  If you find that you did pick up a little bit of weight during the winter months, don’t beat yourself up!  Instead start to cut back on the rich food, the ready-made meals, the refined sugars and starches, and replace these with the above-mentioned produce.  Remember to drink plenty of water to help the body to flush out toxins and stay hydrated.

Lastly, remember to spring-clean your mind as well.  Stay positive and stay focused on your goal.  Whether it is to lose weight, get back into exercising, eating more healthily or just being happier in general, know that, as the season of change is here, anything you set your mind to can be done – one step at a time! 

Spring, in many ways, are ringing in a “new” beginning.  New flowers and leaves are starting to bloom, the birds are starting to court each other, some are starting to build new nests…all in all, it is time to throw of the heavy clothes and blankets, open the windows and breathe the fresh air in!  Enjoy the season everyone!

To my readers in the North, have no worries. As you are gearing up for autumn, you can still continue and maintain a positive outlook, keep working at your goals and enjoy the beautiful autumn colours in nature!

Using tissue salts

In my previous blog posts I explained what tissue salts are and why it is a good, natural remedy to use, either as an extra boost, or to help relieve allergies and/or illnesses.

In this clip, courtesy of Natura (the South African-brand of tissue salts) and Natural-magazine, it indicates what the different tissue salts are used for.

Tissue salts are the natural salts inside the body; it is not harmful and can be used often. However, when in doubt – best to ask your health practitioner!

Tissue salts explained

The word biochemistry comes from the Greek word “bios” (meaning life) and “chemistry.”  Biochemistry refers to the natural chemical changes that are carried out by life processes.  These changes are affected by the union of organic substances with inorganic elements, whereby different tissues of the body are formed. 

Energy is then obtained so that the body can carry out the vital processes like breathing, moving, thinking, blood-circulation, and so forth.  Dr. Schüβler, a German-born doctor was most probably one of the first doctors to use the term “biochemistry.”  He was also a physiological chemist and a physicist.  He was ahead of his time when it came to science and, by putting his theories to the test as a medical doctor, he achieved great results.  And so, Biochemistry was born!  Years later, a well-known scientist Rudolph Virchow, discovered that the human body is composed of a tremendous amount of living cells, each one made up of a very small, but balanced quantity of 3 classes of materials, namely water, organic substances and inorganic substances.  Water and organic matter like sugar and albuminous, fatty substances, make up the greater portion, whilst inorganic / mineral substances, are vital (although less than the others).  These mineral substances are the “active workers” that utilise the inactive substances in building the millions of cells of which the body is composed.

So; what is the use and reason for using and prescribing tissue salts?  In a nutshell; if your blood lacks any of the necessary quantities of inorganic substances, then the rebuilding process cannot carry on in an optimum way, thus resulting in a disturbance in the cells that causes “disease,” or a dis-ease.  When there is a shortage or deficiency of one or more vital mineral substances, injuries, self-poisoning, and so on, can occur.  For example, if you don’t have enough calcium and magnesium in your body (or if your body doesn’t absorb enough of these minerals), you get cramps, spasms, and even headaches! 

Dr. Schüβler proved that there are 12 mineral salts in our body’s cells that is crucial in carrying on the functional activities in our cells.  These mineral salts are:

Calcium Fluoride (Calc. Fluor,), Calcium Phosphate (Calc. Phos.), Calcium Sulphate (Calc. Sulp.), Phosphate of Iron (Ferr. Phos.), Potassium Chloride (Kali Mur.), Potassium Phosphate (Kali. Phos.), Potassium Sulphate (Kali. Sulph.), Magnesium Phosphate (Mag. Phos.), Sodiu Chloride (Nat. Mur.), Sodium Phosphate (Nat. Phos.), Sodium Sulphate (Nat. Sulph.), and Silicic Oxide (Silica).

There are 5 principles that underlines the reasons for and the use of tissue salts:

  1. Disease doesn’t occur if cell metabolism is normal;
  2. Cell metabolism is normal if cell nutrition is adequate;
  3. Nutritional substances are either of an organic nature or an inorganic nature, when it comes to the body’s cells;
  4. The ability of the body’s cells to assimilate and excrete, and further utilise, the nutritional material is impaired if there is a deficiency in the inorganic mineral / tissue salt, constituent of cellular tissues;
  5. Adequate cell nutrition can be restored and cellular metabolism can be normalised by supplying the required tissue salts to the organism in a well divided assimilable form.

It should be noted that tissue salts are not pharmaceutical drugs – you do not need a doctor’s prescription for it, nor are there any side-effects or harm done, when using them.  They are vital cell foods and in harmony with the body.  For example, Magnesium Phosphate (Mag. Phos.) can be given to babies that suffer from colic.  Tissue salts can also be taken up to 3 times a day, depending on the severity of the symptoms, and can also be used during pregnancy.  When in doubt – consult your health practitioner!

Let us have a quick look at the use of each of the 12 tissue salts:

  1. Calc. Fluor:  present in the surface of bone, enamel of teeth and in the elastic fibres of the skin, muscular tissue and blood vessels.
  2. Calc. Phos:  a constituent of the bone, teeth, connective tissue, blood corpuscles and gastric juices.  Together with albumin it gives solidity to the bones and building of teeth (bone consists of 57% calcium phosphate).  It uses albumin as cement to build up bone structure (good for children to take)
  3. Calc. Sulp:  a healer and blood purifier; found in the liver where it helps in the removal of waste products from the blood stream.  It has a cleansing and purifying influence throughout the system.
  4. Ferr. Phos:  it is the “biochemic first-aid.”  It carries oxygen, enters into the composition of haemoglobin and takes up oxygen from the air that we inhale via our lungs, and carries it in the blood stream to all parts of the body.  This is a vital force that sustains life and gives strength and toughness to the circular walls of the blood vessels (particularly the arteries).
  5. Kali. Mur:  it is used to treat sluggish conditions.  It combines with fibrin, an organic substance.  Any deficiency causes fibrin to become non-functional and the body then discharges catarrh and other similar symptoms that affect the skin and mucous membrane.
  6. Kali. Phos:  a good nerve nutrient, that is found in the tissues and fluids of the body; notably the brain and nerve cells.  It has an antiseptic action and counteracts decay in the organisms.
  7. Kali. Sulp:  has an affinity with the cells that form the lining of the skin and those forming the internal mucous lining of all internal organs.
  8. Mag. Phos:  known as the “anti-spasmodic” remedy, its main function is connected with the nervous system where it supplements the action of Kali. Phos.  A deficiency of Mag. Phos causes spasms and cramps – therefore it is important to help maintain the rhythmic and coherent movements of muscular tissue.
  9. Nat. Mur:  the “water-distributer.”  It enters into every composition of every fluid and solid substance of the body.  It controls the ebb and flow of the bodily fluids and its prime function is to maintain a proper degree of moisture throughout the system.  If there is a lack of this salt, cell division and normal growth could not proceed.  Nat. Mur is also linked to nutrition and glandular activity.
  10. Nat. Phos:  present in the blood, muscles, nerves and brain cells, as well as in the intercellular fluids.  It neutralises acid and regulates the consistency of bile, as well as promoting the absorption of water. 
  11. Nat. Sulp:  regulates the density of the intercellular fluids (fluids that bathe the tissue cells), by eliminating excess water.  It controls the healthy functioning fo the liver, ensures an adequate supply of free-flowing, healthy bile, and remves poison-charges fluids (a normal result of chemical exchanges constantly taking place).
  12. Silica:  present in the blood, skin, hair and nails; it is a constituent of connective tissue, bones, nerve sheaths and mucous membranes.  Silica’s action is deep and long lasting.  It acts more upon the organic substances of the body, especially the bones, joints, gland and skin, and is indicated wherever there is pus forming or threatened suppuration, like an abscess or boil.

“Blood is to the human body what soil is to the plant.  It is common knowledge that poor, exhausted soil will produce only weak, sickly plants.  In the same way, poor blood, lacking in essential constituents, will produce weak, sickly bodies, prone to disease.  By enriching the soil, the ill-conditioned plant can be made to recover and flourish.  The recovery of the ailing human body can best be achieved by a similar process – by restoring to the blood the constituents in which it is lacking.  This is Biochemistry,” The Chemistry of Living Tissue.

Bach flower remedies, Tissue salts and Astrology?

Bach flower remedies, tissue salts, and other natural medicine, is concerned with the vertical causes of illness.  This means that it looks at the inter relationship between the body, mind and spirit / soul.  Unlike medical medicine, it treats the origin / root cause of the illness / allergy, not just the symptoms, thus helping the user to be cured rather than just “feel better.”

What has this got to do with astrology, you might wonder?  I was reading a recent article by Jacqueline Brook, about the links, who believes there is a definite link / correlation between them.  The essence of healing (being healed) is not just to remove physical suffering.  Instead it is / should be to assist the person to realize what is the cause of the illness on all levels, so that he / she can be healed completely.  Astrology, she believes, is the same, as it offers a natal chart with insights into the physical, emotional, spiritual and deep levels of a person’s being / persona.

Let us explore the remedies.  Bach remedies were discovered and formulated in the 1930s by Dr Edward Bach.  It is a simple and natural healing modality that uses wild flowers.  Instead of treating just the physical illness, Bach remedies treat essence of the illness. 

It must be noted that there are certain illnesses that cannot be treated (Dr Bach recognized 38 conditions that were treatable), and that some people are allergic to flowers and thus this treatment is not the answer. Bach remedies are classified under 7 headings:  mental and emotional states, fear, uncertainty, insufficient interest in the present moment, loneliness, being overly sensitive to influences and ideas, despondency and despair, and over-concern for the welfare of other people.

Jacqueline notes that, in a natal chart, there are 7 planets that influences a person in a strong / not so strong way.  For example, if a person has a weak Mars in their chart, they come across as timid, fearing the unknown and are unable to pursue their dreams and goals (Mars is the natural ruler of aggression / strong will, desire and action).  Astrology is an ancient form of wisdom and the reason they use the planets, are because our solar system, us and our planet, are energy.  The moon influences the ocean when it is full moon – our bodies are made up of 70 – 80& water – what is the possibility that it can influence people?

Now let’s have a look at tissue salts.  Dr WH Scheussler, founder of biochemistry, believed that a disease does not and will not occur if a person’s cell activity is normal.  He presented 5 principles in support of his studies:  your body is made up of tissue salts and any imbalance (too much or too little of a substance), can cause an imbalance.  The body, he concluded, requires both complex and organic compounds, as well as inorganic substances as cell nutrients.  If there is an imbalance, the body’s cells will not be able to assimilate and utilise these compounds. 

There are 12 tissue salts on the market today, as well as combinations.  Numbers 1,2 and 3 are calcium based, no 4 is iron based, no 5,6 and 7 are potassium based, 8 is magnesium based, 9, 10 and 11 are sodium based, and 12 is silicon.  Tissue salts is completely safe.  Even if you take some in excess, your body will simply excrete it!  Mag. Phos, for example, is not just for cramping, but can also be used for babies who suffer from colic; without any harm to the baby!  In a later article I will go into more detail about the different tissue salts and their uses.

Now – what has Bach remedies and Tissue salts got to do with Astrology, you might still wonder?  According to Jacqueline it is twofold.  Tissue salts can be based on the planetary rulers of the body parts being treated, or it can be selected on the basis of the planetary ruler of the mineral of which the tissue salts are composed or derived from.  A weak Saturn in a chart, for example, will require tissue salts no. 1, 2 or 3, as they are calcium based and Saturn is the ruler of the skeletal system and teeth.  He also rules limestone and limestone is a common sedimentary rock which form from the precipitation of calcium carbonate from water.  Another example of astrology’s link to tissue salts is that too much calcium (Saturn) in the body hinders the absorption of iron (Mars).  Is your skin dry and do you get cold easily?  You might just be slow and ponderous, while another person, who has a dry skin but gets hot easily, is faster moving and action orientated…

Alternative medicine treats a person holistically, because they know that we are not just physical beings, but also spiritual, mental and emotional.  Astrology also believes this, therefore in a natal chart, all the different houses, planets, and so forth, are taken into account when a reading is given.

Many doctors today are realizing that patients must be treated in a more holistic manner.  Diet, exercise and pills are not the “be all and end all” when it comes to treating the reasons and not just the symptoms. 

“Physicians are agreed that when treatment is possible through diet, there should be no recourse through medicine; and when treatment is possible through a simple, there should be no recourse to a compound.”  This, Jacqueline believes, is a reason why astrologers and holistic / allopathic health care practitioners, can work together.

Yoga and wine

A trend that is popular overseas, is now also starting to take shape in South Africa – doing yoga in the morning, and sipping on a glass of wine afterwards!

Reading an article, written by Sharni Quinn, founder of Follow the Sun, she said the idea to combine the two, came about in 2013.  It was during this time, when she took groups overseas on an “Eat, Play, Yoga journeys” to Bali, that she realized that one can have fun and freedom of mind, while at the same time living more consciously and sustainable.  She started “Yoga & Wine- “weekends in the Cape and says it is a huge success.  In the morning the group does yoga, self-reflect / meditate and relax.  In the afternoon a shuttle takes them to various wine farms, where they learn about wine-making and get a chance to taste it.  Sharni says that, combining the two, is a new way of connecting with like-minded people and forming new friendships.

According to Alex Elman, yoga is an ancient, if not the most ancient, discipline; and wine has a rich history.  Both dates back to 6 000 BC.  He believes that one develops a palate for wine-drinking over time and, during yoga, you stretch your body in order to sit in meditation for prolonged periods.

Going way back into history, we know that wine was used in different, sacred traditions, for example in the Greek Dionysian rites, the Buddhist tantra, as well as the Christian Mass.  When you drink wine, you savour the taste, the smell and the aroma.  You are mindful of the cultivation and making of the wine.  In Yoga you are mindful of your breathing, the way you do each and every pose and the way you centre yourself in meditation.

Another interesting thought of why this trend has taken off, is that they claim that you can achieve a state of relaxation and/or mindfulness with both yoga and drinking wine!  This is partly true.  A big difference (I believe) is that wine helps a person to feel more relaxed once the wine “kicks in” after a glass or 2.  When you do yoga regularly, you automatically start to become more mindful, more relaxed and present, because you learn how to breathe correctly, as well as learn how to meditate / become still. 

Popularity is growing and new ideas are popping up almost every day when it comes to exercising.  Whether doing this as part of an organization’s team-building, or as a birthday- / special occasion-celebration, pairing wine and yoga seems to be working in a positive way.  The key, however, is to remember that life shouldn’t be taken too seriously, and that moderation is key to living a well-balanced life.

Celebrating women

In South Africa, August is women’s month, whereas in the UK and US, women’s month is celebrated in March.  Nonetheless, it is a time to celebrate being a woman, a mother, a spouse, a partner and a friend.  A time when society is reminded to take care and respect a woman; for she is the carrier of life.

It is a great idea to have a month where we can celebrate and acknowledge the role the women play in society.  Yes, it is also a month when violence against women are looked at.  In the end it boils down to respect.  When you respect yourself, you will respect other people, things, animals and nature itself.  When you love yourself, you will love others, because the Divinity is in each and every one (and everything) of us. 

It is always important to have a balance between one’s feminine and masculine side (regardless of your sex), but I can’t help but wonder if men don’t feel “lost” in a sense, because women can / want to proof that they can do what men can do?!

In today’s modern world the material possessions in life started to be more important than love, kindness, trust and humbleness.  It is important to make peace with who we are, to get to a point of balancing our feminine and masculine qualities, to allow other women to be women, and to allow men to be men.  It is a time to get back to our true self, to find out what our true values are, and to not just say things, but do it as well!  Dr. Demartini says your true values are those values that you will always return to – and how you value yourself, will determine how others and the world, value you!

My philosophy is:  if you can change something and/or get rid of a bad habit, then do it.  The sooner the better!  If you cannot change something, then make peace with it and be grateful for what you were given.  So many times, we complain about our legs being too short, for example.  However, be grateful you have legs and that you can walk.

For all my female readers, I’d like to say:  enjoy being you, be grateful for what you have, love yourself, and be true to you!  There is nobody on earth like you, nor is there anybody who can replace you.  Yes, we all have flaws that we don’t like. 

All in all, being women is not always easy.  Life has its ups and downs, but how we look at the world, will change how we feel and think about the world.  And what we think, believe and say to ourselves, will either make us stronger and give us self-confidence, or not. 

To all the women throughout the world; be grateful, love yourself, and know that you are special, you are unique, and society thanks you for being you!